Service to God is not free. It has a cost. Verses 1- 8 reads,
“The Levitical priests, all the tribe of Levi, shall have no portion or inheritance with Israel. They shall eat the Lord's food offerings as their inheritance. 2 They shall have no inheritance among their brothers; the Lord is their inheritance, as he promised them. 3 And this shall be the priests' due from the people, from those offering a sacrifice, whether an ox or a sheep: they shall give to the priest the shoulder and the two cheeks and the stomach. 4 The firstfruits of your grain, of your wine and of your oil, and the first fleece of your sheep, you shall give him. 5 For the Lord your God has chosen him out of all your tribes to stand and minister in the name of the Lord, him and his sons for all time.
6 “And if a Levite comes from any of your towns out of all Israel, where he lives—and he may come when he desires—to the place that the Lord will choose, 7 and ministers in the name of the Lord his God, like all his fellow Levites who stand to minister there before the Lord, 8 then he may have equal portions to eat, besides what he receives from the sale of his patrimony.”
In ancient Israel the Levites ministered to God and the people as priests. They received no inheritance of land, they lived in the towns of the other tribes and depended on the people’s sharing for their provision. The Levites who served in the Tabernacle in Jerusalem depended on the sacrifices and offerings for their food. They even had to give up anything they had inherited in order to serve God as His priest. That took faith. God only wanted priests who had enough faith to give up their security for Him.
When we answer The Lord’s call, come to Him and choose to be His servant we give up the inheritance of the world. We give up our old lives and everything we gained from those old lives. Consider Paul, he had been Saul, he was circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. He said he had every reason to be confident in who he was in The Lord in his flesh (Philippians 3:4-6). But when he answered the call and dedicated himself to Jesus, he knew that though his prestige seemed a lot to give up, it was nothing, in fact it was a deficit in comparison to his new life in Jesus. He went from up and coming young Pharisee to persecuted Apostle and it was more than good it was beneficial because he went from death to life and he had the honor of knowing Jesus. In Philippians 3:7-11 he wrote,
But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
Believer, what have you had to give up? Money? Relationships? A career? Family? Habits? Whatever it is, consider your past life as a dirty diaper. Sure it hurt to leave those things behind, but look what you gained, eternal life and union with Jesus Christ, your God. Matthew 16:24-28 reads,
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done. 28 Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”
I know the cost of serving Christ can seem steep, there are people who have paid a much higher cost than you or me. But I have the honor of friendship with my Creator. I am a daughter of the King of kings, a queen in the Kingdom of God, a royal priest, a citizen of Heaven, and I am sealed with the Holy Spirit who indwells me. The inheritance from my earthly life is slavery and death, the inheritance from God is freedom and eternal life. Romans 8:12-21 reads,
So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
No one promised our new life would be a rose garden. Jesus suffered. Paul suffered. Every apostle suffered. Every apostle save John was martyred in horrific fashion. We can take up our suffering and follow Christ, knowing He went through much worse than we ever will and knowing we share in all the wonders of eternal life with Him.
Whatever you gave up was temporary, what you gained is eternal. Are you still holding on to the vestiges of your old life? Take a step of faith, give it up and enter into the new life God has waiting for you.